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  1. #1
    Community Member Draccus's Avatar
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    Default Computer Experts: How's this look?

    I'm not a big computer guy. I typical buy a new Dell off the shelf every few years and they work fine. However, both my son and I need new PCs (we're playing DDO on basic Dells that are about 4 years old and have never been upgraded) so I'm going to buy a couple new ones.

    I started clicking around one of those customized PC sites and this is what I came up with:

    CPU: AMD Athlon™II X4 620 Quad-Core CPU w/ HyperTransport Technology
    HDD: Single Hard Drive (500GB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache 7200RPM HDD)
    MOTHERBOARD: MSI 770-C45 AM3 770 Chipset DDR3 1666+/1333/1066 with PCIe slot SATA RAID MB w/GbLAN
    MEMORY: 4GB (2GBx2) PC1333 DDR3 PC3 10666 Dual Channel Memory (Corsair or Major Brand)
    SOUND: HIGH DEFINITION ON-BOARD 7.1 AUDIO
    VIDEO: NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250 1GB 16X PCI Express [+97] (Major Brand Powered by NVIDIA)

    Again, we're not computer experts...or even enthusiasts. We just want something that will run DDO at OK resolution on 21" widescreen monitors. We currently both run with most graphics settings at the absolute minimum (except for textures) so we don't see reflective surfaces or anything like that currently.

    These PC's are super inexpensive at $650. We could spend more but can't really think of a good reason to. Thoughts?

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  2. #2
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    My 2cp:

    I'm more of a "more power, faster, now!" kind of guy, so take what I say with that in mind:

    Processor: I'd prefer fewer, more powerful cores. Quad cores are more or less dual cores glued together and scaled down (speed-wise) to reduce heat. Currently, very few (possibly no) games use up to four cores - it's 1 or 2, max. From an end-user perspective, you will notice that a comparably-priced dual core processor will be faster than a quad core, as you'll have a faster clockspeed. What you lose is what you're not using, what you gain is faster performance. Not sure how easy it is to find dual cores nowadays, they were supposedly being phased out a year or so ago (which sucks, dual cores had significant design advantages that were lost with the move to quad cores).

    Memory: more is better. Double it. I personally have not found the top-of-the-line memory such as Corsair Dominator to be worthwhile. Note that you need to have a 64-bit OS to use more than 3.5 GB of memory. Note that you also need the slots for it. I don't know mobos all that well but I'd be surprised to see yours have only two slots (so 4x2GB should work, someone will correct me if I'm wrong here).

    OS: Get a 64-bit OS. Same price, will enable you to have 8GB of memory.

    Video Card: I've fallen in love with the NVIDIA 2XX line. The GTS 250 sounds perfect for your needs.
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  3. #3
    Community Member Draccus's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks for the great tips. What processor would you recommend that's around the same value?

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  4. #4
    Community Member GreenGurgler's Avatar
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    My 2 copper...

    For the video card, do you have an option to get a radeon HD 5750 or 5770? They retail around $145 & $165 (which is pretty close in retail price for a 250) and they would be a slightly better card. The bigger advantage would be that they are directx 11 cards. While that means nothing right now (DDO is slated to release DX11 compatibility some time next year), it would make your system more future proof.

    Also, as Straklen pointed out, go for a 64bit os, like Windows7 to take advantage of more ram. More ram always helps most things and again, will help your future proofing.

    Lastly on the processor, if the cost difference isnt that great, quad cores may (again) be a better way to future proof the rig for you. Newer games will come optimized to run on multi-cores (Left4Dead2 just released and takes advantage of multi cores).

    I try and balance cost with the best future proofing I can do. I just finished rebuilding my system but I spent about double your budget on a system I love that will carry my needs with minimal upgrades for 2-4 years. Just FYI I went:

    AMD Phenom II x4 965 black ed (ditched the load HS/fan and bought a nice copper Zalman)
    Asus Crosshair III mobo w/ supreme X-fi
    8gig Patriot ddr3 1600 ram (4x2)
    Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 video card
    Windows 7 home premium 64bit
    Corsair 750w psu
    WD 320 gig HD for system only (really wanted to go raptor 10K but couldn't squeeze the last few dollars out of the budget for this)

    Not quite as fast/top end as if I had gone Intel/i7 route, but cost me less and allowed me to put more $$$ towards more ram and a better video card. Also, I am and always be a big AMD fan (I have flopped back and forth on ATI vs Nvidia). Intel NEEDS competition to keep the race moving.
    Last edited by GreenGurgler; 11-30-2009 at 03:03 PM.

  5. #5
    Community Member markusthelion's Avatar
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    Most retail stores Best Buy and others sell computers with 64bit OS's, in fact it basicly became almost standard as of Jan. 2008. I'd say about 65% of the ones that ran Vista that I sold while working at Circuit City (currently no more as of Liquidation) had the 64bit OS. As far as graphics cards NIVIDIA's are king in imo, but there are others who will swear by another.

  6. #6
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    I think the GreenGurgler gave you some very good advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Draccus View Post
    Thanks for the great tips. What processor would you recommend that's around the same value?
    Taking into consideration GG's "future-proofing" advice, perhaps the best route for you would be to stick with quad core but up the clockspeed a bit (in other words, select a tier or two up from your current selection). The closer you are to 3.0GHz, the happier you'll be.

    For dual cores, I think the Wolfdale is a fantastic processor. Of course, the price is almost double that which you have selected, which is why I suggest maybe upping that quad core selection a bit.

    I'm on the fence regarding video cards and DX11. Sure, DDO is slated to have DX11 sometime next year... of course, DDO was slated to have Druids, half-orcs, and half-elves... two years ago. Furthermore, if their year-long DX10 beta was any indication, you likely won't get reliable use out of DX 11 until halfway (or more) through the beta. GG's advice is probably best for you, as I'm coming from the perspective of "by the time DX11 is supported, I'll probably need a new card anyway".
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by markusthelion View Post
    Most retail stores Best Buy and others sell computers with 64bit OS's, in fact it basicly became almost standard as of Jan. 2008. I'd say about 65% of the ones that ran Vista that I sold while working at Circuit City (currently no more as of Liquidation) had the 64bit OS. As far as graphics cards NIVIDIA's are king in imo, but there are others who will swear by another.
    You missed the Dell special in June of '08!

    Buy 4GB or more of memory and have your system ship with Vista 32!

    Yeah, I was real pleased...
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  8. #8
    Community Member markusthelion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strakeln View Post
    You missed the Dell special in June of '08!

    Buy 4GB or more of memory and have your system ship with Vista 32!

    Yeah, I was real pleased...
    LOL, man that sucks! Never been a dell fan really, but I know most of the HP's and Accer's I sold we're basicly 64bit. Also we had some awesome Toshiba Laptops that ran 64bit os, wish I'd have grabbed one of those while we we're liquidating instead of that 52" Plasma, but hey HD football is SOOOO AWESOME!

  9. #9
    Community Member deathtouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strakeln View Post
    You missed the Dell special in June of '08!

    Buy 4GB or more of memory and have your system ship with Vista 32!

    Yeah, I was real pleased...
    You should have been in tech support when Dell was selling vista machines with 512meg of ram! and onboard video.. that was a painfull few months!


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  10. #10
    Community Member Lewcipher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenGurgler View Post
    My 2 copper...

    For the video card, do you have an option to get a radeon HD 5750 or 5770? They retail around $145 & $165 (which is pretty close in retail price for a 250) and they would be a slightly better card. The bigger advantage would be that they are directx 11 cards. While that means nothing right now (DDO is slated to release DX11 compatibility some time next year), it would make your system more future proof.

    Also, as Straklen pointed out, go for a 64bit os, like Windows7 to take advantage of more ram. More ram always helps most things and again, will help your future proofing.

    Lastly on the processor, if the cost difference isnt that great, quad cores may (again) be a better way to future proof the rig for you. Newer games will come optimized to run on multi-cores (Left4Dead2 just released and takes advantage of multi cores).

    I try and balance cost with the best future proofing I can do. I just finished rebuilding my system but I spent about double your budget on a system I love that will carry my needs with minimal upgrades for 2-4 years. Just FYI I went:

    AMD Phenom II x4 965 black ed (ditched the load HS/fan and bought a nice copper Zalman)
    Asus Crosshair III mobo w/ supreme X-fi
    8gig Patriot ddr3 1600 ram (4x2)
    Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 video card
    Windows 7 home premium 64bit
    Corsair 750w psu
    WD 320 gig HD for system only (really wanted to go raptor 10K but couldn't squeeze the last few dollars out of the budget for this)

    Not quite as fast/top end as if I had gone Intel/i7 route, but cost me less and allowed me to put more $$$ towards more ram and a better video card. Also, I am and always be a big AMD fan (I have flopped back and forth on ATI vs Nvidia). Intel NEEDS competition to keep the race moving.

    The NVidia 2XX line is also DX11 ready.

  11. #11
    Community Member Zippo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strakeln View Post
    My 2cp:

    I'm more of a "more power, faster, now!" kind of guy, so take what I say with that in mind:

    Processor: I'd prefer fewer, more powerful cores. Quad cores are more or less dual cores glued together and scaled down (speed-wise) to reduce heat. Currently, very few (possibly no) games use up to four cores - it's 1 or 2, max. From an end-user perspective, you will notice that a comparably-priced dual core processor will be faster than a quad core, as you'll have a faster clockspeed. What you lose is what you're not using, what you gain is faster performance. Not sure how easy it is to find dual cores nowadays, they were supposedly being phased out a year or so ago (which sucks, dual cores had significant design advantages that were lost with the move to quad cores).

    Memory: more is better. Double it. I personally have not found the top-of-the-line memory such as Corsair Dominator to be worthwhile. Note that you need to have a 64-bit OS to use more than 3.5 GB of memory. Note that you also need the slots for it. I don't know mobos all that well but I'd be surprised to see yours have only two slots (so 4x2GB should work, someone will correct me if I'm wrong here).

    OS: Get a 64-bit OS. Same price, will enable you to have 8GB of memory.

    Video Card: I've fallen in love with the NVIDIA 2XX line. The GTS 250 sounds perfect for your needs.
    Personally Strake I prefer the quad core over the dual core, and yeah the memory depends on what OS it is and whether its running 32 or 64 bit etc. (on a side note, with 64 bit your only limited by the amount of ram slots you have not by any reasonable quantifiable amount of RAM for all intents and purposes)

    As for the GTS 250 with the 1 gig on board video ram, I have this exact one and I love it. By far the best video card I have ever bought. The only issue I had is it is a bit of a power hog (and I would assume coming from the factory they would address this issue ahead of time) and I needed to buy a new power supply to feed the beast. Otherwise a superb video card all around ad a good price.


    Otherwise OP despite being a Dell it's not too bad. I would suggest getting a bigger screen via hdtv to make use of the phenominal video card.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strakeln View Post
    You missed the Dell special in June of '08!

    Buy 4GB or more of memory and have your system ship with Vista 32!

    Yeah, I was real pleased...
    I should add that they did make good on it. They refunded the cost of one stick of memory (but let me keep it), as they didn't have Vista 64 available for home purchase at the time. Six months later (with some more prodding), they sent me a copy of Vista 64 for minimal cost - like $10 S&H or something.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zippo View Post
    Otherwise OP despite being a Dell it's not too bad. I would suggest getting a bigger screen via hdtv to make use of the phenominal video card.
    Hehehe that road promotes "Upgrade Syndrome". I had dual 8800GT's with lots of power to spare, so I bought a 30" 2560x1600. That blew up one or both of my 8800GT's, so I picked up a GTX 285 with 2GB on-board. That handles this screen without breaking a sweat.

    Now I'm thinking that two 30" monitors would be cool, which would require two GTX 285's, of course...

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  14. #14
    Community Member Maxelcat's Avatar
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    yeeesh, where to start.

    UG Dell... seriously. But if your determined Get the uber extended warranty. you want to have it fixed for free for at least the next 3 to 5 years.

    Prosessers: Less and more powerful. you'll get more bang for your buck. AMD FTW!

    MoBo: never ever get anything other than a ASUS. I have a wall of every MoBo that has failed me, there's only one ASUS on it. But that was a Admitted bad batch of capacitors and i had it replaced free of charge. (seriously, the capacitors blew clean off the board one day, scared the **** out of me! then it happened on my roomies system (same system) the next day.)

    Memory good. but you might need more depending on OS.

    HATE Nvidia cards. sorry. ATI FTW!
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  15. #15
    Community Member deathtouch's Avatar
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    No AMD is not FTW no more, sorry but AMD's time has come and gone.

    Its all Intel's time now

    http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html


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  16. #16
    Community Member Zippo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strakeln View Post
    Hehehe that road promotes "Upgrade Syndrome". I had dual 8800GT's with lots of power to spare, so I bought a 30" 2560x1600. That blew up one or both of my 8800GT's, so I picked up a GTX 285 with 2GB on-board. That handles this screen without breaking a sweat.

    Now I'm thinking that two 30" monitors would be cool, which would require two GTX 285's, of course...

    My wife says I have a problem
    Lol!

    Right now I'm running a 32" hdtv and a 22" hdtv right next to it as a secondary and supplemental screen.
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  17. #17
    Community Member Zippo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deathtouch View Post
    No AMD is not FTW no more, sorry but AMD's time has come and gone.

    Its all Intel's time now

    http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html
    Bah I will not let an intel in my house. Between 4 computers in the house not a single one are intels. Has been for the last 7 computers
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Draccus View Post
    I'm not a big computer guy. I typical buy a new Dell off the shelf every few years and they work fine. However, both my son and I need new PCs (we're playing DDO on basic Dells that are about 4 years old and have never been upgraded) so I'm going to buy a couple new ones.

    I started clicking around one of those customized PC sites and this is what I came up with:

    CPU: AMD Athlon™II X4 620 Quad-Core CPU w/ HyperTransport Technology
    HDD: Single Hard Drive (500GB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache 7200RPM HDD)
    MOTHERBOARD: MSI 770-C45 AM3 770 Chipset DDR3 1666+/1333/1066 with PCIe slot SATA RAID MB w/GbLAN
    MEMORY: 4GB (2GBx2) PC1333 DDR3 PC3 10666 Dual Channel Memory (Corsair or Major Brand)
    SOUND: HIGH DEFINITION ON-BOARD 7.1 AUDIO
    VIDEO: NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250 1GB 16X PCI Express [+97] (Major Brand Powered by NVIDIA)

    Again, we're not computer experts...or even enthusiasts. We just want something that will run DDO at OK resolution on 21" widescreen monitors. We currently both run with most graphics settings at the absolute minimum (except for textures) so we don't see reflective surfaces or anything like that currently.

    These PC's are super inexpensive at $650. We could spend more but can't really think of a good reason to. Thoughts?
    You might want to leave room for upgrades, that mother board will not do SLI, and I bet the power supply is a 430 (too small as well) Min for the Nvidia 250 is a 450 power supply by the way

    By the looks you went to either Cyberpowerpc.com or Ibuypower.com. look at both sites, sometimes one will give you a better deal.

    My thoughts - pay the $10-$20 for a SLI board. and the same for a 550-650 SLI albe power supply. Going only Duel core is fine and you'll be able to get a 3.0. Be sure to look at the cases, you can save money by not getting a super flashy one.
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